highland hills apartments

Apartment Residents Displaced in Explosion Dealt Another Blow: Burglarized

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Today marks three weeks since the destructive natural gas explosion at a Dallas apartment complex.

The blast injured eight people, including several firefighters who are still hospitalized.

It also forced more than 200 people from their homes.

Many of those tenants returned to the Highland Hills apartments, only to find their homes were burglarized.

“Well, looks like we got robbed,” said tenant Hilda Ventura. “They went through our stuff.”

Burglars struck several apartment buildings damaged in the explosion.

It forced 250 people from their homes.

Many have been staying in hotels scattered across the city while repairs are made to their units.

Several windows were broken in the blast.

Investigators and apartment management have been investigating the cause of the explosion and whether other buildings are safe.

“They broke into mine, broken into my neighbors, broke into my top neighbors,” pointed tenant Daniel Aguilar.

He said his family has been staying in a hotel about 30 minutes away and rushed to the complex as soon as he was alerted to the burglary.

Aguilar said he confronted one burglar inside his unit.

“He was saying: ‘I know who did it. I only came here, the door was open. I was just trying to look around,’” said Aguilar. “He says this while wearing my wife’s shoes, while wearing my wife’s smartwatch.”

The military veteran said he grabbed the guy in a chokehold and threw him in the bathroom.

Both resident and suspect called 911.

“I guess he didn’t feel safe after a while. He wanted to call 911. I let him do that, that’s his right,” said Aguilar.

Police arrived on the scene and took the suspect into custody, he said.

Aguilar surveyed the damage and said several televisions and video game consoles were taken.

Especially concerning, he said, is that four guns were also stolen from his home.

Tenants said they were promised on-site security to protect their units from looters.

NBC 5 asked the spokesperson for the apartment owners about security and are awaiting their response.

Ventura said the crooks swiped her television, some tools and two cell phones.

Residents told NBC 5 they are still struggling to get answers from management about what caused the blast, whether their homes have been deemed safe and when they can return.

“I need to know that my family can be safe and if not, I have to get out of here,” said Aguilar.

His family was set to purchase a home in the spring. He hopes that’s still the case.

Ventura vows this new setback won’t keep them down.

“This won’t destroy us,” she said. “This is going to make us strong.”

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